You've seen them all over the internet, and it's the brush Nicki Minaj asks for by name. A 10-piece kit will set you back roughly $360 (net-a-porter.com), though you can pick up starter sets for about $200, or a solo brush for $36. What's the deal with the Artis makeup brushes? Aside from the unconventional shape, there's a lot that goes into the creation of these tools that makes them every bit worth the pretty penny. After working as an executive for MAC for many years, Artis founder Matthew Waitesmith branched out to create his very own range of tools, hoping to fix what he thought was wrong with makeup brushes in general.
The reason behind the price tag? The entire idea of a makeup brush had to be totally redesigned. In a world full of Nokias, consider Artis the beauty equivalent of an iPhone.
"With conventional makeup brushes, there was no rhyme or reason why they were shaped that way, because they came from the art world. They were developed by artists for painting canvases and walls, and they weren't ergonomic for use on the face," he tells InStyle. "Additionally, most makeup brushes are made with animal hair, which at best, just scatters a product. Hair is very sticky and traps things well because it has evolved to do that, so it's good at picking up product, btu not so much at applying it to the skin in a uniform fashion."
VIDEO: I'm Obsessed: Artis Makeup Brushes
First things first, the very fibers of the brush had to be redesigned. Waitesmith created an entirely new fiber of synthetic origin, designed to pick up product and evenly distribute every particle of it. He was tight-lipped on the exact materials used in the fibers, but each hair tapers down to 3 microns, which isn't even visible to the human eye. The fibers also don't sustain microbial growth, making them more hygienic, and the diameter is smaller than that of a human hair, making for a more precise result.
Though the shape may resemble that of a toothbrush, the Artis brush was designed to mirror the lines, ovals, and circular-shaped areas on your face where you'd use the tool. The fibers are positioned at a 90-degree angle to the handle in order to mimic the motions of your own fingers. "When it comes to design, nature offered up the answer here. If you look at your hand, the way they're shaped and how they work is a great, efficent, ergonomic way to pick up and apply product to the face," Waitesmith tells us. "I needed to configure the fibers so that they were touching the surface of the skin in that way."
Moreover, the brushes are downright pretty, which was another one of Waitesmith's end goals. "The act of doing makeup on yourself, which is sort of like the act of doing a self portrait every day, that whole experience is a beautiful thing," he says. "Why shouldn't the tool be just as beautiful as the products you use? Our brushes are more akin to lifestyle obects, and we use techniques like injection molding and sonic welding to craft them."